WANT to know how you can avoid paying public transport fines? The Public Transport Ombudsman gives you its top tips on how students can better prepare when travelling with myki.
For some overseas students who may be dealing with language barriers in Australia, understanding Victoria’s public transport and myki ticketing system can take time.
Getting it wrong can be expensive – anyone caught travelling without a valid ticket could be charged $75 for an on the spot penalty fare or receive a transport fine of $223 in the mail.
To avoid the fine, Public Transport Ombudsman Treasure Jennings recommends international students take into consideration the following in order to protect their myki and reduce the risk of receiving a penalty fare or fine:
1. Only buy from authorised retailers
To ensure you have a valid card, students are advised to buy their myki from authorised retailers. These include your local 7-Eleven, official myki card vending machines or directly from railway stations.
If you buy a myki from someone who isn’t authorised, you could lose your money.
2. Make sure you have enough money before travelling
You don’t want to be caught with a money-less myki card so make sure you take all reasonable steps to have enough money on your card before travelling.
For example, you might need to make a separate trip to top up your myki before getting on a tram because you can’t top up on board.
3. “Touch on” properly!
When touching on public transport with your myki card, make sure you listen for the beeping sound and look at the screen at the myki gate to make sure your touch on is successful.
4. Register your myki
By registering your myki, this will ensure that your money is secured and protected in the event that your myki is lost or stolen.
5. Carry the right proof of concession
If you’re entitled to a concession fare, make sure that you’re carrying the right proof to show this. For example, if you are travelling on a concession myki because you are a student, your student ID card won’t be enough.
You need to apply for a Victorian Public Transport concession card from Public Transport Victoria (PTV). That said, being an overseas student doesn’t automatically qualify you for a concession myki.
6. Apply for iUSE
What’s an iUSE pass? This is a unique myki pass which allows international undergraduate students discounted travel around town and across wider Victoria.
To apply for an iUSE card, you can do so at iUSE’s official registration page.
7. Research the cheapest way to travel
If you don’t qualify for an iUse pass, do some research to work out the cheapest way to travel. Regular travellers may save money using a myki pass rather than myki money. To learn more, refer to the official Public Transport Victoria (PTV) website. Alternatively, you can call PTV on 1800 800 007.
If you are caught without a valid myki or correct proof of concession by an Authorised Officer then there are a couple of things to know.
If you’ve opted to have the fine mailed to you, understand that you can challenge the fine in writing. While the Public Transport Ombudsman can’t help in your appeal for a fine, we can help you with general information about fines if you contact us.
Should you pay an “on-the-spot” penalty fare, you will be told that there is no process to appeal and no refund of the penalty fare. However you can complain to us. We can talk to you about the penalty fare and why you were travelling without a valid ticket or proof of concession entitlement. We can then discuss our process and what outcomes are possible. We can also advise you on how to avoid getting a penalty fare in future.
The Public Transport Ombudsman’s office is a free, independent service that investigates and resolves complaints about public transport in Victoria.
Complaints about penalty fares and fines can be made to our office by calling 1800 466 865 on weekdays between the hours of 9.00am – 5.00pm. Should you make a complaint, we will do our best to work with you and the public transport operator to try and fix your complaint. We offer translation services if you would prefer to speak in a language other than English and you don’t need to be a permanent resident to use our services.
Furthermore, our office doesn’t just look at myki complaints. If you experience any other problems with public transport in Victoria, please contact us and we will try to help you. If we can’t help you, we will try to refer you to someone who can.
To learn more about the Public Transport Ombudsman, refer to our official website where you can lodge a complaint and find out more about how we can help you.